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Volume17, pages 362-363, 1932



     How large can crystals grow? What teacher of mineralogy but has been asked this question many times. He would probably reply that there is no limit but if he tried to tell of the biggest that had been found he would find it difficult to give an exact answer.     

     This is not an idle question. Large crystals of any substance imply not only abundance of their constituents but extraordinary concentration at one place and unusual constancy of conditions during long periods. The minerals that are often found in large crystals are at least in part composed of the less common elements so that the problem of concentration in time and place is doubly interesting and difficult. How do they support their own weight during growth and how maintain form and outline? Why is there such a varying maximum of size in different mineral species?

      Whatever their interest and significance, large crystals would be more intelligible if we had more exact data as to their actual limits of size. I have myself made a very few observations of actual dimensions of crystal giants and would like to collect others. Will not every reader of this magazine supply such data as he possesses? I will make it a welcome duty to collate and publish the information. The more various the range of minerals included may prove to be the more valuable will be the information. Each case should carry with it such data as are available as to the place and kind of deposit where it was found. The information given below is in part derived from various publications. Where no author is quoted the data are from specimens in the Harvard Mineralogical Collection.


Stibnite Japan Crystals up to 60x5cm. Wada
Galena Isle of Man Cubes of 25 cm. Greg and Lettsom
Miss. Valley Cube of 16 cm.
Pyrite Alaska Cube of 13 cm.
Colorado Cube 12½x10x14 cm.
Elba Octahedron 15 x 15 x 23 cm.
Fluorite Cornwall Cleavage octahedron 14 cm. on edge
Cumberland Cube 13 cm. on edge
Jefferson Co., N.Y Cubes more than 30 cm. Beck
Calcite Iceland Rhombohedron 6x2 meters Des Cloizeaux
Sterling Bush, N.Y Rhombohedron 109x95x46cm. Weight about 1000 pounds Whitlock
Missouri Scalenohedron 76 cm. long Farrington
Quartz Switzerland Weight about 1400 pounds Hintze
Corundum Transvaal  61 x 30 cm. Weight 335 pounds Hall
Gahnite Sterling Hill, NJ Octahedron 12.5 cm. on edge Canfield
Franklinite Sterling Hill, NJ Octahedron 17.5 cm. on edge Canfield
Microcline Maine No definite data
"up to 20 feet across" (6 meters)
Pyroxene Hybla-Ontario Cleavage 16x16x40 cm.
Hornblende Sterling Hill, NJ 15x15x46 cm.
Spodumene Etta Mine 42 feet by 5 feet 4 in. (12.7x1.7 meters) Weight 90 tons Ziegler
Beryl Albany, Maine 18x4 feet (5.5x1.2 meters) Weight 18 tons Gedney and Berman
Garnet Rogers Mine, North Creek, N.Y. Dodecahedrons up to 2 ft. (61cm.) diameter Miller
Scapolite Templeton Tp., Quebec 23x25.5x35 cm. Weight 75 pounds Parsons
Zircon Brudenell Tp., Ontario 10x10x30 cm. Weight of 15 pounds Parsons, Kunz
Titanite Renfrew Co., Ont 10x12x5 cm. twin
Lacy Mine, Ontario 14 feet diam. 33 ft. long (4.2 x 9 meters) yielded 60 tons trimmed mica. (Estimated total weight not less than 90 tons) Ellsworth
Barite Dufton, England Weight 100 pounds Greg and Lettsom
Gypsum Chile, Braden Mine l0ft.x3 in. (3 meters x 8 cm.) Lindgren
Utah, Wayne Co. 4 feet by 6 inches (1.2x0.15 meters) Talmage
Mexico, Naica 5.5 feet by 5 inches (1.67 x 0.13 meters) Foshag

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